'Tis the season for back to school! Whether you have little ones in preschool or elementary, here are my tips for creating seamless systems and rhythms as you start your back-to-school journey. These are ways I practically empower my kids to take responsibility in some areas of their routines as well!
Set up routines for morning, after school, and bedtime
Once school begins, our days start at the same time with the same routine. When you know you have to be out the door at a certain time it is imperative to have a schedule.
- Wake up and potty
- Get dressed (clothes are laid out the night before)
- Eat Breakfast (for us it’s usually something relatively quick like oatmeal, cereal, or french toast)
- Brush teeth
- Grab lunch and school bag
- Out the door
My kids know that if they get everything done with time to spare then they can enjoy a little screen time before we head out. I like to use a timer to countdown to when we have to leave the house. My favorite timer is the time timer which is a great visual display for kids to see how much time they have left (especially if they can’t read).
- Unpack lunch box- throw away the trash, and set bento box in the sink to be washed for the next day
- Change into play clothes and out of uniform- set uniform in the washing machine
- Afterschool snack while mom sorts through all the papers
- Complete any assignments or reading that needs to be done
- Enjoy playtime while mom cooks dinner
Before Bed Prep-Time
- Lay out clothes for the next day- my older boys can do this themselves with a little guidance
- Pack lunches and fill up water bottles- my older boys can do this themselves with a little guidance too
- Make sure all homework and paperwork make its way to backpacks and everything is together for the next day
Other Tips: - Have a “home” for all of your kids' school things- whether it is a shelf in a closet, a mud room, or a basket near the door- this makes mornings easier when you have to grab and go! This goes for shoes and jackets too.
- Do a load of laundry a night (ESPECIALLY if your kids have uniforms)
- Also do a load of dishes after they get home from school so that your kids’ lunch boxes and snack containers are always clean for packing time
- Use a time timer or another timer to track how long your kids have to get tasks done
- Print routine charts in a place that is easy for them to see and read (if they aren’t reading age, use clipart to describe the task)
- If you can, color code your kids' items. For example, Jude has a blue water bottle and backpack, Knox has red, and Emma has pink
- I like to do a small version of meal prep each week for the kids' lunches. I make sandwiches nightly, but as far as cutting up fruit and veggies, I pick one night a week (usually Sundays) to do all the prep work so that my life feels a little easier when I have to pack their lunches every night.
- Notice your kids aren’t eating their lunches? Give them A or B options when it comes to what they eat. I’ve noticed my kids get burnt out of ham and cheese sandwiches really fast, so giving them an option each night for the next day ensures that we are wasting less food and they are begging for fewer snacks when they get home!
- Pick a fun podcast or music to listen to when you are packing your kids' lunches to make the task a little more enjoyable.
I hope that these tips help! Also, feel free to check out this Amazon link for some of my favorite back-to-school essentials!